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Federal officials told NBC News that undocumented immigrant children were never scheduled to be sent specifically on Tuesday to Oracle, Arizona, where protesters and supporters gathered much of the day in the expectation that dozens of them would be arriving by bus.

"There were never any plans for unaccompanied children to travel to Oracle today," the Department of Health and Human Services said early Tuesday afternoon, contradicting Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who'd announced that he'd learned that 40 to 60 undocumented children were on their way Tuesday to Sycamore Canyon Academy, a boys camp in Oracle, near Tucson.

HHS said Tuesday that it was only "reviewing a proposal for Sycamore Canyon Academy to serve as one of these shelters." But the academy told NBC News by email Monday and again in a statement Tuesday that "a small number of the unaccompanied youth" from Central and South America would be placed at the facility "at the urgent request of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement." The sheriff's office didn't immediately return calls and messages seeking comment.



— Mike Taibbi and M. Alex Johnson